• Mari Bruno

4 cool (and free!) places in London

Updated: Oct 7, 2021

With palaces, parks, old buildings, incredible museums and lots of history, London is one of those destinations full of things to see and do. Departing a little from the city's most traditional itinerary, we have selected four modern, cool and free places that you can't miss - even if it's just a quick stop.

Check out:

Covent Garden

Those who enjoy restored historic spaces that have gained a new purpose can't miss Covent Garden.

In the West End neighborhood of the same name, the space had functioned as an open-air market since the 17th century (the first written mention of the “new market in Covent Garden” dates back to 1654). The growth was such that, in 1828, plans began to build a building that would organize the fairgrounds in the square in a practical way. The chosen architect was Charles Fowler and the new structure opened in 1830.

Since then, the popularity (and charm) of the place has only increased, bringing in more and more visitors. Years later, in 1972, Covent Market appeared in the film Frenzy, penultimate by Hitchcock. Today, the place is a modern and more sophisticated market, full of natural light and industrial elements. There are stores like Apple, Tom Ford, Paul Smith and Benjamin Pollock's Toy Shop, and five-star restaurants like Frenchie, Henrietta, The Oystermen and Balthazar.

The walk is also worth it for the wooden swing and flower-filled carts that surround the place, a popular spot for street performances and art installations. When I visited, there was an acrobat outside, a comedian inside and a group of violinists downstairs. Before visiting, check out Covent Garden's schedule.

Southbank Centre

On the banks of the River Thames, the Southbank Center is the UK's largest arts centre. Founded in 1951, the place occupies an area of ​​more than eight hectares and comprises five spaces: Royal Festival Hall, with classical music; Hayward Gallery, a contemporary art gallery; Queen Elizabeth Hall, with classical music, performances and performances; Purcell Room, with literature, performances and classical, jazz and contemporary music; and the National Poetry Library, with the most comprehensive collection of British poetry from 1912.

In addition to art, theater, dance, music, literature and debates, the Southbank Center has markets, shops, restaurants, street food and bars. The centre, which is also the only permanent venue for festivals in the UK, organizes more than 5,000 events and is visited by 6.25 million people every year.

The location is perfect for a date. When I went in the summer, I enjoyed the late afternoon at the top of one of the buildings, where there is an outdoor bar in the style of the High Line, in New York. The space is a grace, with a mixture of garden with wooden furniture and lights.

Tate Modern

Combining a spacious industrial building with modern art, the Tate Modern is one of the four Tate museums, which together add up to almost 70,000 works of art, from the British collection, from 1500 to the present, to modern and contemporary international art. . The first Tate Gallery (now known as Tate Britain) emerged in the late 19th century thanks to the collection and sponsorship of Henry Tate, a sugar refinery industrialist.

In addition to the exhibitions, exhibitions and individual events, it is possible to find works of art by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Cildo Meirelles, Henri Matisse, Francis Bacon, Piet Mondrian and Andy Warhol. At the top of the building, a cafe and lookout offers a privileged view of the River Thames and the city.

A good tip is to use the museum's app, which includes a guided tour in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. The app also calculates your location within Tate and helps you find your favorite artworks.

Sky Garden

One of the most original and impressive places in the city is the Sky Garden. Following the name quite literally, the garden occupies the 35th to 37th floors of an office building and offers a 360-degree view of London. The gardens are signed by Gillespies, which has chosen drought-resistant Mediterranean and South African species that bloom throughout the year.

The spaces, with glass ceilings and high ceilings, include sofas, benches and lounges, as well as five bars and restaurants: Fenchurch Restaurant, for refined dining; Fenchurch Terrace, lounge with wines and snacks; Darwin Brasserie, with British cuisine; City Garden Bar, healthier and with drinks; and Sky Pod Bar, with a focus on cocktails.

The city's highest public garden is free of charge, but tickets must be booked and printed in advance.

fotos: divulgação e Mariana Bruno

matéria originalmente publicada no Follow The Colours